Young & Hungry: A Graduate Round-Up

Emma Palin gives This Is It! a round up of the degree show season and her top 7 design graduates to watch. So take a look at this years fresh talent.

There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want

It can take a lot to stand out during degree show season – with so many talented students fighting for attention it can be visually overwhelming and careful curation of space is certainly needed. Many universities outside of London take the opportunity to showcase at the likes of Free Range and New Designers in order to reach target employers and other likeminded creatives and this can result in offers of commissions, jobs and placements. I scoured the shows this year in order to find the graduates who went that extra mile to be seen and I’ve been following them since to see how they are moving forward with their practise. There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want so take a look, be inspired and follow suit.

 

Katie Alderson | Decorative Artist

Katie Alderson

An organised student if I ever saw one, Katie truly went above and beyond with her Individuality Vessels and Element Lamps. Each vessel represents a star sign and different materials have been used in order to emphasise the characteristics such as peacock feathers embracing the flamboyant Leo character and white feathers showing the carefree attitude of a Sagittarius. As well as her own exhibition at Nottingham Trent University, Katie also featured at New Designers where she was awarded Highly Commended by The Contemporary Glass Society and selected by Absolut Vodka as one of their top 30. As well as exhibiting at Mission Gallery, Coombe Gallery, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and Lustre, she’s currently interning for a designer and looking to start a 2 year programme with Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield. This will provide her with mentoring and studio space to help with the development of her collection – as you can tell she is already a very busy lady so keep an eye on this one and get in there early for commissions!

Website www.ideologyworkshop.co.uk

 

Jess Rose | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Jess Rose

Jess’s digitally printed scarves and vivacious portfolio called out to the colour enthusiast in me. Some of her designs are actually based on looking at a common cold through a microscope resulting in a mix of grimy bacteria transformed into a beautiful array of organic shapes. Jess’s scarves allow you to literally wear your illness, making for a very unique concept. With an obvious fascination for risograph printing Jess has now taken residence at the Dizzy Ink studio in Nottingham as part of the Santander SME internship scheme. She is currently helping them get up and running by creating content and running workshops whilst learning more about printing techniques. Having previously collaborated with pARTicle magazine – a new visual science publication which aims to break down jargon with colourful graphics, illustration and photography – Dizzy Ink seems like the perfect next step for Jess to continue creating and mastering her diverse style.

Website www.jess-rose.com

 

Samuel Bellamy | Furniture & Product Designer

Samuel Bellamy

Selected as part of the New Design Britain Awards at May Design Series, Samuel was already exhibiting his Moroccan Lamps before others had even completed their final major projects. This extra publicity has certainly held him in good stead and he walked away as winner of Accessories category and People’s Choice Awards. He then went on to exhibit at New Designers along with the rest of Nottingham Trent University and was again swamped with positive interest. Samuel’s designs are very luxurious and he pays meticulous attention to detail, creating high quality finishes and intricate parts within his products. Having previously been awarded Boss Design’s Student Designer of the Year at Clerkenwell Design week all the way back in 2013, Samuel has grand plans to continue with the Bellamy Design brand and get his Moroccan Lamps into production.

Website www.bellamydesign.co.uk

 

Emily Meghann Taylor | Illustrator 

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Emily’s work is honest and to the point. She stood out from the crowd immediately as someone who was addressing topics through her illustration, all whilst being subtle and decorative with her designs. The idea behind her final project was to look at different shapes and sizes of women by combining female nudes with a variety of cacti. The two have been intertwined making for a great image composition and a beautiful blend of salmon pinks and greens. Emily also created cushions for a chair using her illustrations showing her versatility as a commercial illustrator – it’s the extras such as this that set her apart from others. After graduating from Swansea University with a first class honours Emily has been exhibiting this summer and will be starting her masters in September. I love the thought process behind Emily’s work and she has plenty more featured on her site so make sure you check it out for more clean lines and eccentric doodles.

Website www.emilymeghanntaylor.com 

 

Emma Buckley | 3D Design 

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I was first taken by Emma’s earthenware due to the pastel hues and dip-dye effect. After investigating the technique used the project became even more interesting as a dye typically used for the tie-dye process, Procion MX, is used to create the ombré finish. The dye is inserted through a sandblasted gap in the glaze, which depending on the size of the gap ultimately controls the end result in this highly unpredictable process. A unique end product emerges which is highly appealing for decorative purposes. It’s lovely to see someone experimenting with materials and pushing the boundaries of their practise in order to create inspiring products – Emma has since been featured by both Dezeen and Confessions of a Design Geek so others obviously agree!  She is currently interning for designer Fernando Laposse where she is working on lots of projects and commissions leading up to LDF which will hopefully make for great experience to do it all on her own in the very near future.

Website www.embuckley.com

 

Faith Earle | Illustrator

Faith Earle

Purely decorative vibes can be just as good as the projects that have a concept but the work does need to be visualised in a certain way. Birmingham City University graduate Faith Earle nailed this and had a lot of buzz around her work from some of the more commercial companies. With her designs transferred onto wrapping paper, cushions and lampshades, Faith advertised how businesses could use her illustrations whilst also showing her potential to create her own brand. She incorporates textures into her designs with a splash of ink or a scribble of crayon and this adds a playful, youthful essence to her work. She is currently working at Next on a placement within the boys wear department and will also be taking some work experience with Hallmark cards later on this year.

Website www.faithearle.com

 

Jeddediah Presland | Furniture Designer 

Jeddediah Presland

As a recent graduate from The National School of Furniture Jeddediah’s main impetus in design is simplicity and functionality but with a touch of multi-culturalism. His Mameluk Plate instantly caught my eye due to the beautiful symmetry and organic shapes created for the digital design of his Corian ® plate. The material was used to rework the traditional Turkish copper trays which serve as both table and plate throughout Islamic culture and you can eat directly from the plate, place it on the floor, on a table or hang it as a decorative wall piece using the purpose made peg. This multifunctional aspect is addressed in all of Jeddediah’s projects making him the perfect designer to create solutions within small interior spaces. With a wide range of live projects and collaborations Jeddediah was ready and waiting to be commissioned at his degree show and this prompted a lot of positive interest in his work plus a backing from the wonderful Bethan Gray.

Website www.jeddediahpresland.co.uk

Author Emma Palin

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Emma is a freelance writer / blogger in the design industry who is always on the lookout for new talent mainly within illustration and graphic design. You’ll probably find her at a local design week along with her pooch George!

 

For more of Emma’s writing have a look at her website 


Earth Without Art is just ‘Eh’

Why the Creative Industries are Important to Society

I have come to realise just how important and effective the arts and creative industries can be in tackling social issues.

Charlotte tells This Is It! why she believes the Creative Industries are so important to society and how her internship at Geese Theatre has influenced her opinion.

For centuries there has been a debate amongst the creative community about the purpose and values of art and culture. Whilst there are many, such as Victorian art critic John Ruskin, who believed the function of art was to serve a didactic purpose, there has been a strong rebuttal from others who have championed the approach of “art for art’s sake”.

My internship with Geese Theatre Company has been a major influence in my understanding of how the arts can tackle social issues

Whilst I would be quick to argue the arts should be supported for their own intrinsic value, it is undeniable the creative industries can have a hugely positive impact on our society. For instance, researcher François Matarasso discusses the social benefits of engagement with the arts in his paper ‘Use or Ornament’. Over two years, Matarasso studied a varied cohort of citizens who took part in various arts projects and reported that their participation facilitated personal growth, enhanced social cohesion, environmental renewal and improved health. In other words, the study showed that engagement with the arts (in a variety of forms) had a beneficial impact on societal issues, helping to increase people’s confidence and employability, and even improving connections between different communities.

My internship with Geese Theatre Company, completed as part of the Creative Employment Programme, has been a major influence in my understanding of how the arts can tackle social issues and why the creative industries are so important.

Geese Theatre Company provide an excellent example of how powerful these so called ‘soft’ approaches can be

Geese Theatre Company is a small, but extremely powerful, organisation based in Moseley, Birmingham. They use interactive theatre and drama-based group sessions to address offending behaviour and issues within the Criminal Justice System. Established in 1987, Geese’s work is centred on an innovative combination of drama-based activities and use of their trademark masks, by which the skilled team of practitioners explore the distinctions between external presenting behaviours and internal experiences.

if Geese can help to rehabilitate one offender, the economy can retain costs of approximately £26,000 per year

Geese Theatre, Emma

Image: Geese Theatre

Whilst many people have been quick to criticise the use of arts and culture to tackle social issues, Geese Theatre Company provide an excellent example of how powerful these so called ‘soft’ approaches can be. For example, empirical research surrounding their approach has proved the use of theatre to be very effective, particularly when dealing with offenders, as it provides participants with problem solving and communication tools in an active and engaging way, regardless of literacy levels. But perhaps where Geese’s impact is most evident is in the testimonials of participants, one stating “I went on a Geese course and this saved my life.”

Some critics have even claimed that the arts and creative industries are guilty of ‘policy piggybacking’

Having completed an internship with Geese as Communications Assistant and demonstrating the benefits of their approach to audiences through various marketing campaigns, I have come to realise just how important and effective the arts and creative industries can be in tackling social issues. Not just in economic terms – if Geese can help to rehabilitate one offender, the economy can retain costs of approximately £26,000 per year – but also in terms of social cohesion Geese Theatre Company’s use of drama and creative techniques evidently has the ability to positively impact on a ‘problematic’ sector of society.

I am also keen to champion the creative industries on their own merits.

Drawing on the evidence from Geese Theatre Company and Matarasso’s research, it is clear the creative industries can be hugely important in creating social cohesion, despite criticism from many policy makers that the evidence is too soft, and draws on only qualitative experiences. Some critics have even claimed that the arts and creative industries are guilty of ‘policy piggybacking’, attributing relevant social outcomes to their work in order to attract funding and obtain financial security.

Geese Theatre: Dave

Image: Geese Theatre

Whilst to me, the evidence from both empirical research and my personal experience working with Geese is enough to convince me that the arts are a unique and successful tool for improving our economy, and society as a whole I am also keen to champion the creative industries on their own merits. To quote Elenora Belfiore on the intrinsic value of the arts, “Culture is not a means to an end. It is an end itself.”

To find out more about Geese Theatre have a look at their website, to read more of Charlotte’s work check out her This Is Us! page.

 

 


Skill Up: Digital Print on Fabric

If you are an illustrator, artist or craft lover printing your work digitally on textiles is a great way to turn your handmade drawings in to professional sellable products. With an unlimited range of colours, complete freedom in customisation, experimentation and prototyping you are a lot less limited than with other forms of printing on fabric.

In order to get the best quality print possible it’s important that your artwork is in the right format to be sent to print. Have a look at this great blog post that gives you a step by step guide to designing and getting your designs print ready: A Beginners Guide to Digital Printing

Artists to Look at:

Rachel Parker

Rachel Parker Textiles

Rachel Parker designs

 

Rachel Parker is a textile artist who creates digital prints for hand stitched designs. She was awarded the Textile Study Group Graduate of the Year 2012.

Melanie Bowles

Melanie Bowles Book Launch

Melanie Bowles Book Launch photo by Cristina Schek

Melanie Bowles combines digital and traditional printing techniques and specialises in designing creative systems of participatory design for printed textiles. She is also the author of the bestselling book Digital Textile Design.

 

Where to get your work printed:

Spoonflower is a website where you can easily upload and order your designs to be printed on a range of material. It is particularly good for prototypes and experimentation as there is no minimum order.

The Centre for Advanced Textiles is a fabric printing bureau based at Glasgow School of Art.

The Silk Bureau is the UK’s leading textile printing company for a mix of individual designers, retailers and design studios. For a full price list and how to order contact them through their website.

Good sites to get you started:

Textile Artist for great interviews and tips on textile printing.

Lacuna Press has a good tutorial for for hand finishing the edges for scarves.


Work Stories: Jack, The National Portrait Gallery Library and Archives

Interview

I think that the programme is great in that it offers such a variety of roles for all different people.

This Is It! speaks to Jack about working on the Creative Employment Programme at the National Portrait Gallery Archive and Library.

 

What were you doing before you started working here?

Before I was working here I was doing voluntary work in a charity bookshop, which I started just after I graduated. I wanted to get in to libraries, so it meant I had some relevant experience when I came for my interview at the National Portrait Gallery Library.

 

Had you thought about working in the Creative Industry before you started working here?

Yeah absolutely, my degree was in film studies so I had been initially looking to go in to something film based, but then I started finding more of an interest in books, so it worked out perfectly really.

It can either be very quiet with no visitors to deal with or crazy with 50 things in your hands trying to juggle

What interested you most about applying for this position?

It perfectly lined up with my interests as it was in the library services. Six months also seemed like a good length of time to be introductory as well as fit you in to a working environment, which I hadn’t been in properly before.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at the National Portrait Gallery Library and Archives?

I started as a Library Assistant trainee and intern, doing a variety of things round the library. I worked with the collections by retrieving and labelling items, looking after books that had been damaged and generally managing things.

A large part of my role was also working on the archive reception desk. This involved helping visitors use the library, booking appointments and dealing with enquiries. It can either be very quiet with no visitors to deal with or crazy with 50 things in your hands trying to juggle, but it’s good. I enjoy working with people; I don’t like particularly being solitary at my desk for long periods of time. Some people like that, I like to get out and talk to people.

One of the main things I got in to doing was cataloguing, and cataloguing training with the Librarian. This means getting volumes of books and making sure their records are right on the computer. You need a degree in Librarianship to be able to do that properly but I was lucky in that Joseph, the Librarian, was able to spare the time to teach me, which I enjoyed doing. That’s a large part of what I do now. I spend half my day on the reception desk and the other half I spend heading up a sales cataloguing project that we’re doing.

I’ve learnt practical things like dealing with books, working with the collections and learning to look after archive and library materials properly.

What skills have you learnt so far on your placement?

One of the main skills has been confidence. I started the scheme with five other people across the institutions. It was good to start at the same time as other people at the same level to you, rather than being thrown in at the deep end.

I’ve learnt practical things like dealing with books, working with the collections and learning to look after archive and library materials properly. Also using the library management system, which is something you can’t really learn without looking at it and dealing with it yourself. As I wanted to continue working in libraries, working with the researchers, the type of people I would be dealing with in a full role, was really helpful.

I have been given transferable skills in both helping casual visitors and working with researchers. Without these skills I would not have had the opportunity to work at the Natural History Museum, which I now do along side the National Portrait Gallery.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you think of a moment or day that has been a particular highlight?

I really enjoyed the collaborative training we did as part of the programme with the other interns from St. Martins and Somerset House. The other staff members were all around my age and job level, so in terms of confidence it was quite nice to be learning things with that group. I really like that sort of thing, learning new things and contributing things from my workplace that other people might not be so familiar with.

I like days where it’s quite busy at the desk and there are lots of things to do. I’m lucky in the library that there are members of staff from all different departments working in the reading room. These include records management, archive staff and a couple of Curators. So I like days where I get to speak to them learning about what they do and they can help me with my work.

 

Have you come across anything in the archives that stood out to you?

The archives have got some pretty cool stuff in. There are journals and notebooks down there with hand drawn sketches from George Scharf, who was an early director of the National Portrait Gallery.

My internship was good in that it gave me the skills I needed to progress. I’ve now got two proper posts in highly esteemed institutions, which is great!

Have you faced any challenges during your time here?

As I wasn’t a very outspoken person when I came in, being suddenly in an office with all these people who are very good at their jobs, talking about things that I don’t know was a learning curve. It’s also quite exciting as it’s interesting to learn about people and their jobs.

The real challenge having come out of doing voluntary work and being unemployed was getting to grips with the working environment. This is something that will vary from place to place but luckily here it was made less of a challenge

if I want to go anywhere else in the future, I’ve got the experience that I wouldn’t have had without the internship.

Has working at the National Portrait Gallery Library helped influence your future career?

Yes absolutely, the programme was great in that it was a good stepping-stone. Coming out of voluntary work I had a few interviews to go straight in to working a full time post in a library but I still didn’t have the experience that was necessary for it. My internship was good in that it gave me the skills I needed to progress. I’ve now got two proper posts in highly esteemed institutions, which is great! So now if I want to go anywhere else in the future, I’ve got the experience that I wouldn’t have had without the internship.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you give any advice to someone who could be starting a similar role, or starting a placement?

I’d advise that if you’re interested in specific areas, ask people about it.

As I wasn’t so self-assured, I wasn’t doing that at first but as I got in to it I started asking about areas I hadn’t been initially introduced to. I think that the programme is great in that it offers such a variety of roles for all different people.


You can find out more about the National Portrait Gallery Library here and more about the Creative Employment Programme here.

 


Art Collectives

Our Top Picks

Struggling to get your work shown in a gallery? Or are you finding it hard to motivate yourself to produce solo work? Working as part of a collective can be a great way to not only get your stuff seen to a wider audience but also have more of an impact with your creativity. Some of the best collectives combine cross disciplinary skills to produce amazing results.

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